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Amid the coronavirus crisis, Creative Artists Agency cuts pay

Creative Artists Agency headquarters
Creative Artists Agency headquarters in Century City.
(Benny Chan / Fotoworks / CAA)

Creative Artists Agency said Wednesday that it is implementing salary cuts as the entertainment industry continues to reel from the effects of the novel coronavirus.

The Century City business said the pay reductions would be as much as 50% of an employee’s compensation, with the higher earners taking the deepest cuts.

CAA President and co-Chairman Richard Lovett, as well as co-Chairmen Bryan Lourd and Kevin Huvane, will take no salary for the rest of the year, the company said.
The company, which employs more than 2,000 people, did not announce layoffs.

“In this time of tremendous uncertainty for individuals, businesses, governments and communities, it is incumbent upon us to look closely at what measures help ensure CAA always remains the strongest company for our employees and clients,” the company said in a statement. “Making cost reduction decisions is always a thoughtful and deliberate process for us, never more so than under these extraordinary circumstances.”

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The cuts come at a time when CAA has been expanding its business. In February, the company announced it acquired L.A.-based Kauffman Sports Management Group, which represents NBA and NCAA basketball coaches and NBA executives.

Last year, CAA Sports acquired Base Soccer Agency, a London-based firm that represents soccer players, coaches and managers.

But the COVID-19 pandemic has created harsh new economic realities for entertainment companies and other businesses.

Talent agencies are under growing pressure to raise capital to finance growth at time of rapid changes in the media industry. The rise of streaming and expected decline of TV packaging, combined with the effects of a longstanding boycott by Writers Guild of America, have put the squeeze on talent agencies, some of which have laid off workers.
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CAA follows other representation companies including United Talent Agency that have implemented salary reductions as Hollywood productions and live events have been shelved or postponed due to concerns about COVID-19.

Some Beverly Hills-based businesses such as Paradigm Talent Agency and Endeavor have implemented layoffs in response to the crisis.

Major media companies such as Walt Disney Co. have also implemented substantial layoffs and salary reductions.

Companies from advertising agencies to production firms have been scrambling to adapt content to reflect the pandemic environment.

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On Wednesday, Endeavor Content, a division of talent agency owner Endeavor, launched a podcast called “Making the Call,” hosted by Dr. Zeke Emanuel and Dr. Jonathan Moreno, who will address COVID-19-related questions such as “When there’s a vaccine, who will get it first?”

Emanuel, a Harvard-trained oncologist, is known as one of the principal architects of the Affordable Care Act and is the brother of Endeavor CEO Ari Emanuel and Rahm Emanuel, who was President Obama’s first chief of staff and later the mayor of Chicago.


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